Selected tags: Food Security

FAO adopts sustainable small-scale fisheries guidelines

Photo credit: Jason Houston

Photo credit: Jason Houston

Small-scale fisheries provide a host of social and economic benefits to local communities.  They contribute about half of the global catch; supplying food for local, national and global markets.  They are responsible for about ninety percent of fishing employment. They provide income, contribute to food security and nutrition, alleviate poverty, and often support a way of life strongly anchored in local culture and community.

But small-scale and artisanal fisheries face many challenges today including depleted fish stocks; pollution; encroachment from development; climate change, and sea level rise. Many small-scale fishing communities are marginalized, with low levels of access to political power, education and other resources.

To combat these challenges, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) collaborated with governments, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders to develop a set of ‘Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication’ (SSF).  Today at the biennial meeting of the FAO’s Committee on Fisheries in Rome, delegates adopted the SSF Guidelines by consensus. Read More »

Posted in Food Security, Global Fisheries, Small-Scale Fisheries| Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Catch Shares: Harvesting Sustainable Catches

Originally published on November 18, 2013 on the Oceans Health Index Website


Introduction

Written by Steven Katona, Managing Director, Ocean Health Index

Maximizing sustainable food production from the ocean by harvest of wild fish stocks and production of farmed species by mariculture is one of the 10 goals evaluated by the Ocean Health Index, and it is especially closely watched because it is so critical for the future.

Three billion people out of today’s world population of 7.1 billion people depend on seafood for their daily protein and fish contribute a greater proportion of protein to the average diet than poultry.  A single serving of fish or shellfish (150 g) provides 60% of a person’s daily protein requirement, but the ocean’s continued ability to meet that need is in doubt.  Our population is rising steadily and will reach about 8 billion by 2024 and 9 billion by 2040, but the annual catch from wild ocean fisheries has stayed at about 80 million metric tons since about 1990 despite increased effort.  The reason is that too many stocks are overfished and too much productivity is sacrificed as bycatch, illegal and unregulated catch and as a result of habitat loss caused by destructive fishing practices.

Yet without increased wild harvest and augmented mariculture production, the risk of malnutrition will increase for hundreds of millions of people, because the catch will have to be shared by so many more mouths. Read More »

Posted in Catch Shares, Science/Research, Seafood| Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Rebuilding Global Fisheries for Food Security: The Time is Now!

A spawning aggregation of the bigeye trevally, Caranx sexfasciatus, Cabo Pulmo National Park, Mexico.

A spawning aggregation of the bigeye trevally, Caranx sexfasciatus, Cabo Pulmo National Park, Mexico.
Photo Credit: Octavio Aburto-Oropeza/Marine Photobank

“Unleashing the self-interest of local fishermen to advance both conservation and economic development can create one of those rare win-win scenarios.” This powerful quote from a recent op-ed, beautifully describes what is at the core of EDF’s mission to save fisheries.

The authors of that op-ed, Carl Safina, founding president of the Blue Ocean Institute at Stony Brook University, and Brett Jenks, chief executive of Rare, called attention to both the global depletion of fisheries AND the solution. They discuss how despite growing concern about the dire state of global fish populations, there is hope to rebuild them. “Why are we hopeful? They write, “It’s because the analysis of global fisheries has a silver lining. We have not reached a point of no return. We have time. Solutions exist.”

They draw from the first comprehensive analysis of more than 10,000 fisheries in the journal Science which finds that, "When sustainably managed, marine fisheries provide food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.”  Fisheries and food security for future generations are a challenge that we believe can be solved by partnering with fishermen to find common solutions, but we must act now.

The United States has made great progress in fisheries management.  Almost two-thirds of fish landed in the United States are done so under a catch share.   However,  the United States is just one piece of the puzzle,  Safina and Jenks point out that, “small-scale fishers — who fish within 10 miles of their coast — account for nearly half of the world’s global catch and employ 33 million of the world’s 36 million fishermen, while also creating jobs for 107 million people in fish processing and selling [pdf]. Mostly poor, they live mainly in areas lacking fisheries management, monitoring and enforcement.” Read More »

Posted in Seafood| Also tagged , , | 1 Response, comments now closed

New Science Paper: Status and Solutions for the World’s Unassessed Fisheries

Grey Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) cruise through the reef passes among large schools of surgeonfish in Fakarava, French Polynesia.

Photo Credit: Gerick Bergsma 2010/Marine Photobank

The world’s fish stocks can be rebuilt to provide more nourishment and economic value to the millions of people who rely on the ocean for food—if we step up now and make aligning these incentives a global priority.

The magazine Science has published a study that provides new insights into thousands of fisheries where scientific data has not been historically available.  These “data poor” fisheries make up a majority of the world’s catch, around 80 percent. According to this new research, many of these fisheries are facing collapse, but there is still time to turn the situation around. The study indicates that it is possible for fisheries to recover globally, which would increase the abundance of fish in the ocean by 56% and in some fisheries’ yields could more than double.

With these new assessments, fishery managers and world leaders can have a more comprehensive view of the status of our global fisheries.  There are many new insights into previously unmeasured fisheries, using new methodology that can have enormous implications for managing the resource sustainably.

The report also provides some hope and insights on how the world can reverse these trends. Read More »

Posted in Catch Shares| Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

FAO Reports 87% of the World’s Fisheries are Overexploited or Fully Exploited

FAO Logo

The Food and Agriculture Organization has some good news and some bad news for us about the world’s fisheries (State of the World Fisheries & Aquaculture Report).  The good news is that global fisheries and aquaculture production increased over the last few years, and people are eating more fish – a healthy source of protein.  The bad news is that ocean fish catches went down and the percentage of the world's assessed fish stocks that are overexploited or fully exploited went up to 87%.  Aquaculture, the farming of fish, is increasing rapidly to meet growing consumer demand for seafood.  While some aquaculture production operations have small environmental footprints, the sustainability of the industry overall is unknown.  What does it mean for ocean productivity and the health of ocean ecosystems to remove 15 million tons of fish (19% of the total catch) every year and feed it to other fish?

The truly scary story behind the headlines is that these data only provide a glimpse of the whole picture, which is uncertain but troubling.  The FAO's estimates of fishery status (e.g., the number of stocks that are fully exploited or overexploited) are based on studies of only a tiny fraction of the world's fisheries.  These are the best managed fisheries in the world — thousands of other stocks are not assessed at all, and many have minimal or ineffective management systems in place.  Moreover, a lot of these un-assessed and undermanaged fisheries are prosecuted in tropical coral reefs and other ecosystems that harbor a wealth of the ocean's biodiversity.  Recent studies suggest coral reefs are especially sensitive to fishing, tipping from healthy to unhealthy conditions when too many fish are harvested. Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized| Also tagged , | Comments closed